In defence of Love Actually


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In defence of Love Actually

We need it now, more than ever

There’s a lot of hate in the world this year. Yesterday, that hate came in the form of this article, on why we should keep our yearly dose of Love Actually off the Christmas to-do list this year. I’m here to tell you to do the exact opposite, to embrace the movie and hold it close as if you were the stars of your very own Richard Curtis film.

In a year in which terrorism and social division have grown across the world, and every famous person you ever liked has kicked the bucket we need sentimentality more than ever. We need security, we need something reliable, we need Love Actually.

As you know, you’ve seen it enough times, the film is made up of a number of different narrative threads which all vaguely link, kind of like a twee British Pulp Fiction but with more kissing, Hugh Grant and characters that almost certainly shop in Waitrose. So let’s break this down, plot line by plot line and I’ll detail why each little storyline is essential to your Christmas.

Keira Knightley, the nice husband and the creepy weirdo friend

Obviously I have to get this one out the way first, because, despite it reminding me of my childhood Keira Knightley crush, it has become incredibly uncomfortable to watch in the meantime.

So let’s totally forget about that-guy-from-The-Walking-Dead who films his best mates wife. Let’s absolutely forget about what he planned to do to that video when he was alone in the confines of his own home and let’s forget about the fact that being a disloyal and voyeuristic creep is portrayed to be endearing. Let’s forget that he’s probably the sort of guy that read pick-up-artist blogs and uses phrases like ‘closing’ when discussing trying to seduce his friend, an AMOG, on internet message boards. Let’s pretend that turning up with a bunch of hand-written cue cards on Christmas Eve and proclaiming your love for somebody outside her and her husband’s home isn’t absolutely fucking bonkers and likely to get you a restraining order.

No, let’s remember this storyline for two things, Keira Knightley’s impossibly perfect angled smile and when the band all pop out at the wedding and cover The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’. You will have that song, and it’s accompanying horns, in your mind for weeks after watching the film. Not to mention that it’s the sort of over-the-top romantic gesture it is impossible to not have your heart melted by, even if it would end up on YouTube nowadays.

Billy Mack and Joe

The old rockstar, a pastiche of every member of the Stones, and his manager offer us two things that are important to remember in this troubled year.

1) You can teach an old dog new tricks. Bill Nighy’s character somehow has a career reinvention and finds success again. If everything can come up rosy for Billy Mack then maybe 2016 might actually end well, and 2017 could actually be good.
2) Billy Mack finds success with a cover of The Troggs ‘Love is All Around’, which is also the song that Richard Curtis had covered by Wet Wet Wet for Four Weddings and a Funeral. So, at this time of thinking about those less fortunate than ourselves, lets feel for Richard Curtis and his obviously awful music collection.

Colin Firth and that Portuguese woman who is categorically not a sex slave

OK, so finding out that your brother and girlfriend are bumping uglies isn’t the most Christmas thing ever. You’ll remember that Colin Firth’s really boring character retreats to France and meets his housekeeper, discovers a connection despite not being able to understand one another, before later returning to France because he realises he loves her and that this definitely isn’t a rebound. This is a homage to the type of ‘on first sight’ connection that we all want to experience at some point in our lives, and she is categorically not being trafficked.

The horrible cheating one

Alright, this story with that tosspot and his new secretary is pretty horrible but the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see Emma Thompson’s character realise that her husband is unfaithful, is something that makes the saccharine moments elsewhere taste that little bit sweeter. So consider this a necessary evil, and at least this storyline gives us Rowan Atkinson at his best and another chance to see one of 2016’s victims Alan Rickman once again, even if his character is a bellend.

The extras who are bonking for a film

Oh shit, is that Stacey from Gavin and Stacey? Yes. Is that Tim from the Office? No, it’s Frodo from The Hobbit. Wait, it’s the same person? Wow. That’s pretty much all this storyline used to be good for, but in this post-Tinder age, maybe we can see it as allegory that true love can blossom even after you’ve seen each other’s private parts.

Sarah, Karl and Michael

Each time Sarah and her workmate Karl get close to saying how they both feel then they get interrupted by Sarah’s ill brother Michael. Will they, won’t they storylines are always meant to end in happiness, but this doesn’t, it’s just a reminder that the love of your family is important and that Christmas is about spending time with them. Look we don’t know what happened after the film, let’s just imagine Sarah and Karl finally got it on during a team-building day at paintballing or something.

Colin and the American girls

So in hindsight perhaps that-guy-from-My-Family going to America and having sex with everything in sight, like some sort of taller, dorkier and ganglier Russell Brand, isn’t the most festive thing ever, but it’s funny. Not only does it make you laugh it has also inspired a generation of British guys to visit America believing that endless casual sex lies at the end of a transatlantic flight, like gold at the end of a rainbow.

It doesn’t, you’re still unnattractive in America.

The PM and Natalie

Let’s gloss over the fact that Hugh Grant’s character is a Tory with a Margaret Thatcher kink. Let’s gloss over the fact that his romantic exchanges with Natalie, who is household staff at number 10, probably happen while he is signing off on more cuts to hospital funding, or that he almost certainly would have used Hard Brexit as an innuendo has the film been set now.

Let’s focus on him putting the misogynistic, President Trump-a-like in his place before going on the sort of door-to-door search to find Natalie that won’t be seen again until the inevitable immigrant purge of 2020.

The one with the kids

I’ll keep this simple. If your heart doesn’t melt at the scenes involving lovestruck Sam and his crush on his American classmate, then you are beyond help, you are a monster and you don’t deserve Christmas cheer.

All the characters somehow end up at an impossibly clean and empty Gatwick airport and everything, mostly, is right with the world. So that’s it, that’s why you need to watch Love Actually this Christmas. Put your festive jumper on, eat a ton of chocolate and get merry, it’s okay if you call it merry and not drunk, and sit through two hours and fifteen minutes of pure Christmas emotion while pretending not to have a tear in your eye.

2017 is going to be a better year for all of us if we follow the themes of this film, because all we need is love, actually.